Like many other beauty fads, dermaplaning became popular over the past several years with help from social media, specifically Tiktok and Instagram. In case you're not yet familiar with dermaplaning, it's a skincare treatment that involves gently exfoliating your face with a scalpel in order to remove hair, dead skin cells, and other buildup.
Dermaplaning first originated as an in-office treatment that was performed by dermatologists. But today it's possible to do it yourself at home thanks to the widespread availability of dermaplaning scalpels sold over the internet and in beauty stores.
What are the potential benefits of dermaplaning? If you're looking for baby-smooth skin and a clean, poreless-looking finish when you apply makeup, this is a beauty hack that's right up your alley.
Let's find out the best way to safely do it yourself (or have it done professionally), plus what to expect and potential side effects.
What Are the Benefits of Dermaplaning?
As touched upon above, dermaplaning involves the use of a thin blade that's gently applied against your skin. This makes it sound a bit scary, but dermaplaning isn't all that different from shaving.
The main goal of dermaplaning is to remove dead skin cells, excess oil (“sebum”), and "peach fuzz" from the surface of your skin in order to leave it looking brighter and more even.
Improvements in skin's appearance after dermaplaning are due to its exfoliating effects. The very top layer of your skin is basically shaved off, and in the process, most people find that their skin feels softer and their overall tone and texture looks more radiant. On average, results usually last for about 2-3 weeks.
An added bonus: as with other types of exfoliation, your makeup should go on more easily and evenly after you've dermplaned your face. It can help cut down the need for foundation and concealer (which can lead to less pore clogging and breakouts), and when you do use face makeup, it should make it appear less "cakey" or clumpy.
Dermaplaning can also help your skin to absorb other beneficial skin care ingredients more easily, such as serums and creams.
How to Dermaplane at Home?
Even if you already exfoliate your skin using other methods, such as washing it with scrubs or facial acids, dermaplaning can be a great additional tool to include in your skincare routine. In fact, using a scalpel on your skin can help to get rid of gunk that other products may leave behind.
If you decide to try dermaplaning at home, what type of results can you expect? As with other skin care treatments, results will most likely be less substantial when you do it yourself at home compared to visiting a dermatologist for an in-office treatment.
Dermatologists are typically better able to exfoliate the skin thoroughly using professional-grade scalpels, while at-home dermaplaning is geared more towards hair removal and gentle exfoliation.
At-home dermaplaning is pretty simple to do and usually relatively effective for smoothing the skin, so it may be worth a shot! Another benefit: you'll save money by doing it yourself; dermatologists usually charge about $150 to $250 per treatment.
That being said, some experts recommend avoiding at-home dermaplaning due to potential risks of cutting yourself and causing scarring. If you do choose to try it at home, be sure to watch a couple of "how to" videos first so you can see a demonstration of how to dermaplane safely.
Here are tips for safely performing dermaplaning at home while getting maximum benefits:
Always start with clean, dry skin. Hold the area of your skin that you're targeting taut, smoothing it out so the scalpel can make an even contact.
Keep the blade at a 45 degree angle. Slowly move the blade over your skin in short, downward, light strokes. Don't push down too hard or move very fast.
Avoid any sensitive areas or those with cuts or zits.
Once you're done, remove any dead skin cells and hair, then apply a rich moisturizer, such as one containing hyaluronic acid or glycerin.
Let your skin settle for about 24 hours before applying makeup, acids, or any harsh products. You can wash your face gently and moisturize, but keep it mostly bare for a day.
Also avoid direct sun exposure for about 2-3 days ideally. Keep your face protected with sunscreen, preferably a mineral sunscreen with at least SPF 30+.
Dermaplane about every six weeks or once a month maximum to avoid irritation.
Are There Risks Involved?
The biggest risk involved with dermaplaning is that you may cut your skin, or that you'll transfer bacteria from your skin into your pores, which can cause a mild infection or pimples.
To avoid these issues, be sure to clean your face thoroughly first before dermaplaning. And as a very important reminder: use a clean dermaplaning scalpel every time! Ideally, disinfect it with rubbing alcohol or another disinfectant.
You definitely want to avoid using a dirty dermaplaning razor on your skin—even one you've already used more than once or twice on yourself—because used razors tend to carry bacteria.
Another tip is to use only razors specifically designed for your face and for dermaplaning, rather than regular razors meant for other purposes (such as cutting open boxes or shaving your legs).
What are other possible side effects you might experience? For example, could dermaplaning make your skin red? Will it make the hair on your face grow back thicker?
Assuming you don't have very sensitive skin, you should experience only a small amount of temporary redness after dermaplaning (if any at all). If you notice a rash developing, swelling, heat, or bumps, these are signs that your skin is probably too sensitive to be shaved and that you should skip this procedure in the future.
In general, dermatologists recommend that people with very sensitive skin—including anyone with active acne, rosacea, or keratosis pilaris—skip dermaplaning to avoid irritation.
When it comes to hair growing back thicker, this is a possibility, although it depends on the person. Dermaplaning won't create any new hair follicles, but it can make otherwise light hairs appear darker once they grow back, creating the illusion that your facial hair is thicker.
What Are Alternatives?
If you’d rather not risk putting a blade up to your face, you can still achieve smooth, hair-free skin in other ways. Here are some tips for doing so:
Wash your skin twice daily, especially at night to remove all makeup. Use makeup remover pads or micellar water to help, but always wash your face after using these so soap doesn't linger.
Exfoliate several times per week using a gentle scrub and always moisturize afterwards.
Consider also trying chemical exfoliants, also called facial acids, such as glycolic or lactic acid.
To remove unwanted facial hair, consider epilators, electric face shavers, waxing, threading, prescription creams, and laser hair removal. If you have sensitive skin, it’s a good idea to check with a dermatologist first.